TV networks hold year-end awards after protracted strikes

By Kim So-yeon
  • Published : Dec 27, 2017 - 14:09
  • Updated : Dec 27, 2017 - 14:18
It is that time of the year again: the country’s three biggest TV networks will air their annual year-end award shows this week.

In September, members of the National Union of Media Workers at KBS and MBC went on strike simultaneously, calling for the removal of the networks’ management and the restoration of independent, fair reporting.

Singers IU and You Hee-yeol host annual year-end music show “SBS Gayo Daejun” at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Monday. (SBS)

The two-month strike at MBC ended in November after the removal of its President Kim Jang-kyom. All three of its awards ceremonies will be held: the MBC Entertainment Awards on Friday, MBC Drama Awards on Saturday and MBC Gayo Daejejeon on Sunday.

All eyes are on whether the popular variety show “Infinite Challenge” and its host Yoo Jae-suk will receive the grand prize again at the Entertainment Awards. If Yoo nabs the grand prize, it will be his 15th grand prize at the year-end awards. 


Meanwhile, KBS, where the strike continues, canceled the 2017 KBS Entertainment Awards, which recognizes variety shows and their hosts, as many production staff have been staging a sit-in since September. The boycott has caused many regular entertainment shows to be replaced with reruns or special episodes.

The unfortunate victims of the decision will include Kim Saeng-min, who has risen to fame for his humorous penny-pinching habits.

The veteran television presenter, who debuted in 1992 as a KBS comedian, was a favorite to win a prize at the year-end ceremony, as his KBS pilot program “Receipt,” where he analyzed and criticized people’s spending habits, enjoyed great popularity and has since become a regular show. 

Singers IU and You Hee-yeol host annual year-end music show “SBS Gayo Daejun” at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Monday. (SBS)

The broadcaster will still run two of its awards shows, the KBS Music Festival and KBS Drama Awards, scheduled on Friday and Sunday, respectively.

The most anticipated will be the drama awards. KBS produced the most number of hits this year among the three broadcasters, including “Good Manager,” “Fight for My Way,” “Witch at Court,” “Mad Dog,” “My Father is Strange” and “My Golden Life.”

Actors Song Joong-ki (left) and Song Hye-kyo pose at the 2016 KBS Drama Awards held at KBS Hall in Yeouido, Seoul, on Dec. 31 last year. (KBS)

This year, SBS took the lead in producing programs, as its competitors lagged behind due to strikes.

The SBS Entertainment Awards, scheduled to be held Saturday, will feature heavyweight contenders, such as “My Little Old Boy,” hosted by last year’s grand prize winner Shin Dong-yup; “Same Bed, Different Dreams 2: You Are My Destiny,” featuring the Korean-Chinese couple Choo Ja-hyun and Yu Xiaoguang; and longtime favorites “Running Man” and “Law of the Jungle.”

The SBS Drama Awards set to be held Sunday is expected to show an interesting competition for the grand prize between Ji Sung, who played the lead role in “Defendant,” and his wife Lee Bo-young who played the lead role in “Whisper.”

Music shows by the three broadcasters will boast stellar line-ups of K-pop stars, with all three featuring five A-lister K-pop groups: BTS, EXO, Wanna One, Twice and Red Velvet. 

K-pop girl group Twice performs during annual year-end music show “SBS Gayo Daejun” at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Monday. (SBS)

By Kim So-yeon (syk19372@heraldcorp.com)